John Denver Albums Ranked

Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997), known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, activist, and humanitarian, whose greatest commercial success was as a solo singer. After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up in his military family, Denver began his music career with folk music groups during the late 1960s.  Starting in the 1970s, he was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the decade and one of its best-selling artists. By 1974, he was one of America’s best-selling performers, and AllMusic has described Denver as “among the most beloved entertainers of his era” Here are all of John Denver albums ranked.

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10. Different Directions (1991)

“Musical variety is evident in every track. Regardless of the musical attack, J.D’s social values are still evident. The only drawback to this album is the lack of Denver’s compositions. However, “Foxfire Suite”, “Different Directions”, and “Amazon” rank high in regards to his previous output. Also, John’s band includes top flight musicians such as James Burton on guitar.”

9. Autograph (1980)

” This album comes across as John Denver fully “grown up.” The subject matter of the songs and the way are presented feel very considered and well crafted. You can tell he is maturing as a person and as a songsmith. The chunky-ness that peppered previous albums is not present here. The diversity of songs and continuity of production is stronger here than on any other J.D. record.”

8. The Unplugged Collection (1997)

“This recording, from 1996, is a great collection for those who remember Denver from the ’70s but are unfamiliar with his work in the ’80s and ’90s. It includes acoustic re-recordings of songs originally released either on RCA or on his Windsong label. It is important to note that “Unplugged” is the same as “A Celebration of Life” except “Unplugged” includes four more songs: Annie’s Song, Seasons of the Heart, For You and Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”

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7. Poems, Prayers And Promises (1971)

“This album is beautiful in its simplicity and proof of a truth that is too often overlooked in record production. Oftentimes, less is more. So often music is over produced, over instrumentalized, and overwhelmed. Here you get basically a sparkling clear voice and a guitar, and that’s mostly all this music needs or should have.”

6. Some Days Are Diamonds (1981)

“John Denver has a lovely voice that is sorely missed and this album, in my reckoning, is his best. He tells stories of love, the country and memories. My standout track is the lovely “Wildflowers in a Mason Jar (The Farm)”- a song about a child and his grandfather travelling on a bus and the grandfather’s memories of times past on his farm.”

5. The Best Of John Denver Live (1997)

“This sixteen-song set of some of John Denver’s greatest hits is probably one of the best live recordings he has done. He manages to bring out the magic of each song and never falters. Unlike most live albums that lack the clarity or depth of studio albums, this collection sounds crisp and vital due to the SACD format. It sounds as if John Denver is literally in your room. The guitar work is as crystal clear as well. Indulge yourself. This is a classic album.”

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4. John Denver’s Greatest Hits (1973)

“This album contains many of John Denver’s early hit songs, all of them favorites of mine – “Rocky Mountain High”, “Starwood in Aspen”, “For Baby, for Bobbie”, “Sunshine on my Shoulders”, etc. And while there are a number of anthologies of John Denver’s hits, all of which are very good, this is the only one that contains the studio version of “Rhymes and Reasons”, one of John’s most profound songs, a song he wrote at a very early age (25).”

3. Rocky Mountain High (1972)

“This album remains Denver’s defining work. It retains the freshness and purity of sound and heart today that it had in 1972. His voice was so young and hopeful, and so were his songs. I probably respond even stronger to them today than I did when I first heard them at 12. The best songs on it are the title track, “For Baby”, and the Seasons Suite, but really the whole collection is a gem.”

2. Back Home Again (1974)

“This album was released when John was at the apex of his popularity, and the songs on this album served to propel him firmly into the stratosphere. From the comical “Thank God I’m A Country Boy’ to the incredible smash hit “Annie’s Song”, John Denver showcases his incredible talents here. Denver almost single-handedly began the outdoor backpacking, hiking, and orienteering movements by popularizing the idea of nature as an important element in modern life, and more than a few of the young babyboomers, like John, were more than ready for the kind of unconventional intimacy with nature he sang about so effortlessly and so elegantly.”

1. An Evening With John Denver (1975)

“This album captures the essence of what made John Denver a star. It was 1975 when it came out and John was at the pinnacle of his career. He was singing great and his personality (another reason he was so well loved) came shining through. John Denver was a person you had to see live. His studio albums are very well done, yet there was something magical and personable when John sang live. He wasn’t just a great singer and guitarist, and a magnificent song writer, he was a polished and wonderful performer. This album “An Evening With John Denver” captures those qualities and demonstrates what a superior performer he really was.”